Raphael
An angel whose name means ‘‘God has healed.’’ He first appeared
in the Apocrypha, those honored but uncanonical books
of the Hebrew people that were considered but not included in
their Bible (i.e., the Christian Old Testament). The book of
Tobit, written in the second century B.C.E., concerns a man who
was blind. Raphael was the angel sent to heal him. In the pseudepigraphical
(falsely ascribed) book of Enoch it was said
that ‘‘Raphael presides over the spirits of men.’’ In Jewish rabbinical
legend of the angelic hierarchies, Raphael was the medium
through which the power of Tsebaoth, or the Lord of
Hosts, passed into the sphere of the sun, giving motion, heat,
and brightness to it.
As one of the angels named in the ancient writings, Raphael
reappears in the Kabalistic literatures of the Middle Ages. As
an archangel, Raphael was identified with Hod, one of the ten
sephiroth iminated by the Ein Soph (God) who implements
God’s creative purposes, in this case healing. He then reappears
in a variety of magical operations of ceremonial magic
and is one of the four angels called upon in, for example, the
basic ‘‘Ritual of the Pentagram’’ which was taught to neophytes
in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The name ‘‘Raphael’’ was also adopted by pioneer British
astrologer Robert Cross Smith (1795–1832) whose career really
marks the beginning of the modern astrological revival from
the low point of astrological interest in the eighteenth century.
Smith founded a successful astrological publishing house and
compiled Raphael’s Astronomical Ephemeris, the book of sun,
moon, and planet position for each day of the year, a necessary
tool for the preparation of an accurate horoscope. Since his
death, the publishing house continues to publish his ephemeris
which remains one of the most popular used today.
Through the nineteenth century, individual astrologers also
assumed the name and operated as ‘‘Raphael.’’ Raphael II was
John Palmer (1807–1837), editor of Raphael’s Sanctuary of the
Astral Art (1834), Raphael III was a Mr. Medhurst, who edited
the Prophetic Messenger almanac (1837–ca. 1847), Raphael IV
was Mr. Wakeley (d. 1853) who wrote under the name ‘‘Edwin
Raphael,’’ and Raphael V was a Mr. Sparkes (1820–1875) who
edited The Oracle (May–June 1861). Raphael VI was Robert C.
Cross (1850–1923) who acquired the Raphael copyrights, including
the ephemeris. Since Cross’s death, a company has
continued the Raphael publications.
Sources
Christian, Paul. The History and Practice of Magic. New York
Citadel Press, 1969.
Halevi, Z’ev ben Shimon. A Kabbalistic Universe. New York
Samuel Weiser, 1977.
Lewis, James R. Astrology Encyclopedia. Detroit Gale Research,
1994.
Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn. 4 vols. Chicago Aries
Press, 1937–40. Revised ed., St. Paul Llewellyn Publications,
1969.